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Gambia’s Tourism Sector Sees Revenue Boost As Tourist Arrivals Surge In 2023

By Yunus S Saliu

Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) recently at the National Assembly, His Excellency President Adama Barrow noted the increase in tourist arrivals in the country saying “In 2023, there was a thirteen percent (13%) increase in tourist arrivals, totaling two hundred and six thousand, eight hundred and thirty-six (206,836), compared to one hundred and eighty-two thousand, seven hundred and ninety-five (182,795) in 2022.

Over the past three years, the President said, the tourism sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience, growing in tourist arrivals and making a significant contribution to The Gambia’s economic development.

He intensified that “The increase in arrivals has translated into revenue increase from one hundred and sixty-eight million, nineteen thousand dollars (US$168.19 Million) in 2022 to three hundred and thirty-three million, twelve thousand dollars (US$333.12 Million) in 2023. This reflects a robust recovery and growth in the sector.”

Given the importance of the tourism sector, “we will not relent in improving our promotion strategies, infrastructure, products, and service,” he promised while adding that to improve access to major hotels along the Tourism Development Area, three road projects are nearing completion. “Other plans include further promoting community-based eco-tourism and domestic tourism,” he noted.

Commenting on the cultural sector, President Barrow said the Ministry of Tourism and Culture established the National Endowment Fund for Arts and Culture in 2023. Also, following Cabinet endorsement, the fund will be operational in 2024 to provide a steady source of support for Gambian arts and cultural programs.

“On legislation, The Gambia has ratified two major UNESCO Conventions; namely: the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Heritage and the 1970 Convention against Illicit Transfer of Cultural Goods. Both became effective on 10th February 2024,” His Excellency Barrow confirmed.

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